Humanities › Geography About Lapse Rate The Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate and the Saturated Adiabatic Lapse Rate Share Flipboard Email Print Aerographers Mate 3rd Class Robert Mason of Chicago, IL, releases a weather balloon from the fantail of the USS Harry S. Truman September 26, 1999. Getty Images Geography Physical Geography Basics Political Geography Population Country Information Key Figures & Milestones Maps Urban Geography By Matt Rosenberg Geography Expert M.A., Geography, California State University - Northridge B.A., Geography, University of California - Davis Matt Rosenberg is an award-winning geographer and the author of "The Handy Geography Answer Book" and "The Geography Bee Complete Preparation Handbook." our editorial process Matt Rosenberg Updated March 17, 2017 As a hypothetical parcel of air cools as it rises in the atmosphere and warms as it descends in the atmosphere. This cooling and warming of the air is known as the lapse rate. There are two primary types of lapse rate - the dry adiabatic lapse rate and the wet or saturated adiabatic lapse rate. Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate Saturated Adiabatic Lapse Rate If you're having trouble thinking about a parcel of air rising, think of a invisible balloon of air rising. As it rises, it cools as it expands. If it begins to descend it will compress and the temperature will increase.